Ctrip continues its journey with its acquisition of Skyscanner!

It has been announced this morning that China’s Ctrip, one of the most well-known online travel portals in China, has tabled an offer valuing Scotland’s Skyscanner at GBP 1.4bn. Skyscanner, established in 2003, enables global travellers to compare prices from online flight, hotel and rental car sites and despite the significant price being paid by Ctrip will continue to run as an independent company and retain its founder and existing management.

Ctrip, founded in 1999, has in the last three years been on a spending spree in terms of its M&A activity and whilst most of its previous deals involved Chinese or Taiwanese travel related platforms, Skyscanner won’t be its first foray in to the UK and nor will it be its biggest acquisition to date. In January 2015 the company acquired Travelfusion, the UK-based travel bookings data management developer, for a reported GBP 105m and in October last year the company paid just over GBP 2.2bn for a 45 per cent stake in Qunar Cayman Islands, one of their biggest competitors for online air tickets within the domestic China market.

UK-based commentators believe that the deal between Ctrip and Skyscanner is more about technology as opposed to being a traditional “horizontal” merger, and this view appears to be supported by the quotes from both CEOs, who reference technology as part of the solution to making global travel easier!